Wednesday, January 30, 2008


An experiment.

I have been given a set of instructions on how to add a link with the body of the text rather than the only way I have worked out to do it in the title!

I usually write the title and then put the website I am referring to underneath the title where it says Link that then means if you click on the title you go to the website>

So now I have a set of instructions to follow -

I shall put up photo of the year

Lets see if this has worked!

If it has thanks to Digibirder. If not then its blame me/my pc/whatever...

Grey Phalarope Photo by Peter

The Waxham Grey Phalarope as taken by Peter Simpson....yes the winner of the Birdguides Photo of the Year 2007.
(He has graciously given me permission to post here!) Thanks Pete.

Captured the bird as well as being a beautiful photograph!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Update on that Sparrow!

Jo Dale presents her pastel painting of White-crowned Sparrow to the Bendings who "found" the bird.

I think it looks as if they quite like it! LOL!

£3500 raised so far for the local church.

Year List 143 UK

A day's birding in East Norfolk.

Well armed with local info from Tim Allwood (see links for Tims website)
Bob and I came to East Norfolk with our visitors knowledge and pagers at the ready!(yt = year tic)

We had this day planned ages ago - target birds Taiga Bean Geese and Cranes.
Then it was whatever might be around.

After a terrific days raptor watching on Sheppey on Saturday, we were not focused on raptors for once!

On route we saw 3 different Tawny Owls (yt) (M25 nr M1 turn off) and two up the M11.

We were at Wayland Wood before 9.00 (breakfast at the Walkers Cafe in Thetford
we heard Lesser SW, Nuthatch,Treecreeper,Bullfinch and Golden Pheasant at least two in quite different parts of the Wood. On one occasion we heard the call (strangled pheasant described Bob!) and saw something fly across but it was in a hollow so we just got the flurry or flash. Most frustrating not to see the bird when we clearly heard them!
Well no showing birds (it was quite gloomy and vvvcold) until the calling Marsh Tits (yt) were finally seen and then they got showy!
Usual tit flocks, Gioldcrests and other woodland suspects.

But I must admit we left there feeling down! 5 only heards! All required for the year list!

On to Cantley Marshes.A long search across the marshes from the bridleway nr the village....we scored Mistle Thrush (yt!) finally Bob spotted a Bean Goose. There they were Taiga Bean geese to go with our Kent Tundra's! Good top be able to really compare the two having only recently seen the Tundra.

I had spotted that a Ross Goose had been reported with Pink feet nr Acle so a change of plan....divert across...arrived to see another birder parked in layby what a dreadful road.(fast cars no supersonic!)no time to enquire so on to
next lay by we scanned and scanned the geese.....Chinese Water Deer (Lifer for me!) and a very nice young birder arrived (from the other layby) all three of us scanned and scanned/ not helped by text from Pete(Duxon) and Deboo who had seen a Ross (after or before seeing the WCS!) -We discovered we were all heading out to see the Grey Phalarope and decided to leave...
I am wondering now whether the very nice young man may have been Kit Day?Up from Suffolk and his Mother driving him ?

We then drove to Waxham and parked as instructed- good spot Tim.
We were all the time stopping to see if there were any Cranes in any of the recent places...dip!
After an exhilarating walk along the tops of the Dunes (don't fancy taking a buggy there Postcard!) looking out again for Cranes we eventually saw birders around a puddle!
No wonder you got good photo's John! Grey Phal (yt)
We didn't go as close - 3 Camera's were really close to the bird - we looked through the scope what a lovely bird!

Walked back with another birder and we were all on route for Stubbs Mill (if we couldn't see a Crane in a field!) Drove through Se Appalling (thought of you Tim!)and to the Visitor Centre.As I came out the loo, I heard Cranes!
At this point we both said oh no! Would we really dip seeing these?By now we had decided to be on a Bird Race so we could at least count the heard only!!

At the lookout there were lots(people) but we had been warned by the presence of a Coach in the car park!
All we wanted was to see a Crane!

Marsh Harriers, Ringtails, Merlins and a Sprawk - still early (no wind there-great) when a Chinese Water Deer was spotted and CRANES!
6 Cranes(yt) flew from right to left across us (not to roost) beautiful!

Happy we walked back saw two Chinese Water Deer in the area.

Time for the Barnacle Goose....or back to Acle?
It was getting late and we decided to go to seek the Ross. (Lifer for me even if I couldn't count it on BOU!) On route Bob spotted Egyptian Geese (wild) (yt) made a change from our local ones altho' they are self sustaining they all came from Kew !

This was now 6 (yt) same as on Saturday so we began to feel better!
it wasn't the lack of birds we hadn't seen that was frustrating just hearing them and not seeing them! If we hadn't heard them I think we could have lived with that!

We past some birders on that road, stopped and I ran back to see what they were looking case it was our Ross. No the Dark breasted Owl....on we went..
back to our lay bye but that supersonic road had gone ballistic - drivers in our boot....needs a 40 mph speed limit! So we ended up in the Parking lay bye (the other lay byes were actually gate entrances!)

But it was better now as the Pink feet had moved across a field and were didn't help we still couldn't spot the little Ross!
But we saw a Chinese Water Deer...then another and another...until we had seen 12!
Plus a fox eyeing up a Goose dinner but deciding there were too many!
A few Pink feet began flying off can we wait until they fly and perhaps have a last chance? Too dark so we left and guess what? Yes they decided to fly....
fabulous sight but we were on that mega fast road so had to be content with descriptions from the passenger seat - me!
Thousands of Geese in the sky is one of the sights of Norfolk!

We decided that it had been a thoroughly worth while day.

I ended up with a Lifer that I didn't expect all be it a mammal!

Forgot...saw Muntjacs somwhere?
Again thanks Tim for the local info.

142 - 2008 Year List
Eagles Rule!

Raptor day

Trip to Isle of Sheppey

Little Owl at Elmley in the tree from the toilet block.

on to Capel fleet

Rough-legged Buzzard flew from a hay bale onto carrion...think it was a Hare.
Merlin over the car

Hen Harrier (Ring tail) at least 2 females.

then on to search for the Hooded Crow and any Geese!

(Marsh Harriers male and females everywhere)
no sign of Grey legged Partridge
Long search for the Hooded Crow! Triumph!

Still no Geese apart from Canada (1) dont get many here and Greylags.

Having searched about........
on way down from the top of the hill as I drove down the Harty Ferry Inn Rd Bob and I saw at the same time GEESE!
stopped in the layby and there they were White Fronted Geese all 37 of them! Flying into their roost at Elmley.

6 new year ticks....then to the Raptor Mound to search for a Peregrine for Bob...saw the RL Buzzard again, a Buzzard and Harriers Marsh and Hen...

then a Barn Owl hunting lovely sight
Start the day with an Owl and end with another! Very Happy

Weather dry and some sun but the wind!! Still it was Sheppey!
I love Raptor watching!(and I include wols with this!)

136 Year List 2008

Just discovered that I hadn't added Mandarin seen 2/1/08 at Osterley Park
If Seth can count Mandarin seen in Bushey Park well !
I was going to wait until the Forest of Dean Trip.

Eagles Rule!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chiswick House and Gardens

Yesterday it was a lovely afternoon and I dragged myself away from working at home and went for a walk.

I often pop into Chiswick Gardens (I think I call it Chiswick Park!) but usually its with Zeta dog!
Today I walked around at my leisure and looked at the birds and squirrels.
Squirrels- dont think I have ever seen so many in one place!
All busy eating of course! I stood about 10 feet between two trees each with a Squirrel on the tree trunk watching me. Just like an equilateral triangle.

I stood still and after saying something stupid to a squirrel watched.They both came down their tree and found nuts or whatever and ate them in front of me- obviously keeping an eye on me but as I didn't move they seemed happy enough to carry on eating.
Then a dog barked and they pricked up their ears and carried on eating.

I did leave them alone after that!

Plenty of Garden and woodland birds about. Noisy RN Parakeets, a charm of Goldfinches chattering about the days news, BH Gulls so close and I found 3 1st winter birds....improving my gull id! Magpies rattling, Woodpigeons balancing on twigs so tiny as they look likely to break! Robin and Blackbirds singing......Finches lots of Finches in the area....Greenfinches looking dapper, Chaffinches looking pink!
Usual ducks...Mallards and hybrids and Canada's and lots of feral pigs.

Best was the quiet...even tho the odd dog barked and the odd kid chattered.
Quiet in between the planes and birdsong!

Dunnocks and Blackcap male back in my garden again today and an Old Dog Fox visited my garden at 11 as I was making a coffee.He soon went.

Today first Chaffinch in my garden for the year....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Secrets of bird flight revealed.

In 2003, Professor Dial and his colleagues published a paper that revealed birds utilise their wings when running up steep inclines.

Wings may have evolved to help birds move over obstacles

He explained: "This was an important find - birds exhibit a behaviour we really didn't appreciate before.

"Birds don't just use their wings when they fly or just their legs to run on the flat; in fact, they recruit both wings and legs for them to scale steep inclines, whether it be a boulder, a tree or a cliff."

Read on there is more!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A lovely gesture

As a follow up to the Tales of the White-crowned Sparrow.
As a memory and a thank you to the people who found the bird and have been kind enough to park their car elsewhere in the village rather than use their drive!

An artist has suggested she gives her pastel painting to them! Jo Dale thank you from us birders who could only give money!
Oh and the collection is now over £3000.

I have her permission to reproduce her painting here with the photos she based it on.
One is Steve Gantlets.
A lovely gesture and I think the people will treasure her painting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bubo listing

I am now keeping my lists on Bubo.

I have only added the UK year list for 2008 so far but I shall keep my lists there!
Its a great site as you cant duplicate a bird species!

Monday, January 21, 2008

A sussex day

Well really a Hants and Sussex day as we planned to go to Gosport to see our friend the overwintering Ring-billed Gull. Its such a trek out to Gosport!
Still we were pleased to find that we parked and didn't even have to get out the car as "Gossie" was right in front of us a bit windswept but all in order!
We looked and bins as well (not needed really but you felt well we better had and with a little walk around he took off and flew towards the sea bit! Glad we arrived when we did or we would have taken ages to find him!

To Hayling Island where there were REd breasted Mergs...and plenty of waders but it was blowing a hooly straight at us and the waves were really high so we left!

On to West Wittering where as we arrived in cp and set up scopes the Brent geese were not too far away. We started to work through the flock and Bob got the RBGoose in his scope I looked yes there was the bird who before Christmas was a lifer for a year tick! With that the whole flock took off and flew away by the time we had returned from the loos the flock was along way away...again luck was with us!

Then it was the search for the Cattle Egret. The instructions on the pager turned out to be incorrect so Bob trusted to his own local knowledge and after an extra circuit around the venue we were looking at 2 miserable looking Cattle Egrets...nice bird...
miserable as they were all hunched up in the wind...did I mention the wind?

So to Selsey Bill for some sea watching....a short while later having been blown nearly off our feet and little to see apart from RB Mergs...we went to the other ens of Selsey and I saw a Med Gull (not a year tick - but a nice bird...)we retired out of the wind into a local cafe for all day breakfast for under a fiver! the tea was extra a bit...brilliant service from the school aged girls we even left a tip!

Church Norton to find yes eventually for me a Slav Grebe...bob spotted 3 different ones before I got onto one...but the Great Northern Diver was nice to see.In fact its more sheltered at Church Norton so not as windy.

To West Dean....too windy for the birds but a Mother Roe Deer with last years foal was a lovely reason for being there. What a fantastic potential for Birding here...
we heard a Marsh Tit....2nd heard only Willow Tits or Yellowhammers...or anything else except Robin and Blackbird....
Crows and or Corvids and the sky then a trip to the farmyard and lots of bits Brambling they must all be at Banstaed!

Of over country to Burton Mill Ponds..realise when we got there I had been before!

and a Bittern watch....Kingfisher dazzling..(oh besides the wind it was so dark at WD but now it was a better light)....Siskins in flock and then a huge finch flock flew over...
As we arrived a Mute Swan flew over our heads...very low not just hear those wings but felt the water drops from his body...big bird!

Waited for ages for the Bittern to show for his roost...there was a huge crowd of Sussex mainly birders....they drifted off as it later...but at 5.00 the Bittern flew out of the reeds and over the reeds before snuggling down to sleep in the reeds.!

Bob was a much happier bunny as he is rapidly catching me up....he has seen Red Kite and as I haven't been to the Chilterns yet....but I still have 6 he hasn't seen.

130 Year List

Next w/e a couple of good trips Sheppey and East Norfolk should improve the list!

Did I tell you about the wind? Where was my woolly hat? at home in the wrong bag!
Fighting my hair instead of it being contained in the hat was my excuse for how long it took to see the Slav Grebe!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

An Eagle

Not sure if the link will work if not I will try again tomorrow.

Being an Eagle fan I couldn't resist this
White-tailed Eagle

Photo wins Birdguides Best Photo of the Year.

Well as I know the author (as it were) thought I'd post up this report from the
Telegraph (just to show I am unbiased!LOL)

Click on the Title.

Pete works in Cley Spy - near Cley (yes that place) and a very good shop it is too complete with dog who has his own sofa!
Pete is very helpful as you will see when you decide to look at Bins, scopes and anything else there. There is also a gallery of Pictures and Photos....and no I dont have shares in the there's an idea!

Also you can see the other winning photos...there is a lovely cute arhhh factor in a Golden Plover chick and a lovely Darford Warbler.
Barn Owel , Buzzard I do like the Little Egret landing on the fact they are all great...must have taken forever to decide the best...except that it does have it all...humour, surprise, a fleeting moment and a bird that is often really difficult to see let alone photograph!

Also on the page is a story about a Palm tree in Madagascar (would love to go there)
which when it you read it its fascinating!

Monday, January 14, 2008

West Norfolk and other birding places.

A trip to West Norfolk to seek Richard's Pipit at Terrington Marsh and a Great Grey Shrike at Roydon Common.

A stop to see Swans near Welney, Wonderful Whoopers and Bewicks and the accompanying Mute Swans. Special thoughts about their great migrations.

Incidental large flocks of passerines in the fields where the farmers leave scrapes from the Sugar Beet to stop the birds eating his other crops!

Large skies.

Finding Skylarks,Water Pipits and Twite at the same place as the Richard's. Whilst that pipit is not rare it is scarce and I didn't see one last year! Spying Knot from the seawall.Common and Grey Seals were hauled up on the sand bars.

To Roydon for eventually good views of the Great Grey Shrike, even if distant.

Hunstanton for the Fulmars
and then to
Titchwell (civilization for WC's, Coffee and cake and the Shop!)
No new birds added.
Water Rails calling and my birding companion gripped back Snipe.

No Geese felt betrayed!

Realising(again) how far everywhere is from everywhere in Norfolk. Its not neat and tidy like Kent for birding in several places!

But a wonderful sunny day if a really cold day but at least not as windy as Titchwell was earlier in the week after the WCS!

UK Year list 123

A view from Norfolk

Click the title!

Friday, January 11, 2008

On the Beeb!

If you click on the title you can see the bird has hit more headlines.
Do not open the actual clip but the whole thing and then go to 22 mins and watch the item!

The extract comes out badly visually!

Well this will now have to wait as I must go to bed as we are off to Norfolk -
the west side tomorrow!

Year list 112 or 113 RSPB list reads 112 the BOU speadsheet (it adds up each tick for you reads 113.

I cant work out which bird is missing so I will go through my list tomorrow and then check with Bob what we have seen on two days birding!

I do know my UK life list is 337 - not too bad since I have been birding seriously again since 2004 and keeping a year list since 2005.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring?
Got a few target birds but mainly its whatever we turn up!

A twitch you might have read about!

Steve Gantlett from with thanks.

If you read the Guardian, Independent or Mail(eek!) you may have already heard about a Rare bird that arrived in Norfolk last week.It was put out on the pagers on Sunday afternoon as Bob and I were birding in Kent.
There was no way we could go from where we were and get there in the light.Bob knew I had commitments at the beginning of the week and he had to go back to work soon!
We also knew we had arranged before Christmas that we would go to the North Norfolk Coast on Saturday anyway. So we didn't say much.

All through Monday I watched the pager(Rare Bird Alert)and looked at the pc - Birdguides and a bird forum where I knew people who had gone to see the White-crowned Sparrow posted and got twitchy yes thats what happens! A lifer for my UK list within travelling distance and lots of other lovely places to visit if we are lucky and its not three hours of waiting for a sighting.(As it can be at some twitches!If you click on the title you will read the blog of a Norfolk birder I know who went along with most of the Norfolk birders on Sunday!

I didn't mind not going on Monday as I guessed it would be bedlam with many many birders going that day.(In case it left or worse got eaten)

Bob rang "Well are we......?" "Yes" No need for more words!
Of course we than talked about the bird, a Lifer for Bob - which is difficult as he has been seriously birding for over 27 years!UK life list circa 420 - where mine was at 336.

The day dawned and Georgie my adopted cat (who cant use the cat flap!) decided to not come in when I needed to go! Eventually after putting notes through my neighbours door I see her sitting on the pavement outside my neighbours no chance she was coming in! So said cat left outside and I was off.
Picked up Bob and we left his house about 6.20 (20 mins late!) to the M4,M25 and M11
surprisingly not too bad butcouldn't race around as far too heavy traffic.Still by 8.30 we were at Lynford Arboretum seeeking Hawfinches and finding Coal Tits and other garden birds then yaffle and Green Woody appears followed by GSWoody no Lessers tho!
Pager goes off the Sparrow has been seen. Well no Hawfinches but several birders looking. One chap left shortly before us and was at the twitch considerably before us- he must have tanked it altho I had to stop at a garage for the loo- so much easier being a chap that can disappear into the trees!

On to Cley.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sunday birding visit to Kent and briefly Sussex

Well one always tries to do too much. Well I do!

Trip to Dungeness and Rye Harbour was planned. Then added to as Birds appeared on the pager overnight!

Well on route we could see the Bewick Swans with Tundra Bean Geese, look at wellard marsh for Corn Buntings, Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers. The Dunge for a variety of species and the Long Pit for Red-necked Grebe oh and Scotney for LTDucks and then Theres sea watching and Denge well as Rye for the Shorelark!

Thats planning well the best laid plans and all that!

We did see the Bewick's Swans not 23 but 43 and only 3 youngsters along with 11 Tundra Bean Geese and lots of Mute Swans.As we had been driving along I was on the look out for Rook and once I had seen one I couldn't stop seeing them!

A Jay was seen and dipped by me!Tricky when you are driving to see everything!
Red legs spotted. So we had a stop and Yes there they were.Across the road- lots of Curlews in a field with Golden Plovers and Lapwings.
To the Marsh Welland and eventually after hearing them we finally saw 1 Tree sparrow in a tree had seen a possible before. Corn Buntings yes lots but no Yellowhammers.

a BoP kept putting stuff up - couldn't see what but clouds of Lapwings, Golden Plovers and assorted others.

To Dungeness much later than anticipated but good information from the young man who was working there. Shag from the centre and Goosanders plus Smew male and Redheads.
Plenty of Ducks about.
off to a couple of hides...Christmas Dell for possible Red headed Pochard....not to be seen at all despite a lot of looking and searching and grilling the entire pit from every conceivable angle! No Bittern! It had been seen that day.

Picked up some nice bits - like the Cetti whose song exploded out of a bush as it did as well!

Up to 3 Marsh Harriers spotted hunting including a female plus about 8 Kestrels seen in the locale.

Off to see Red necked Grebe on the pit helpful birder explained where he had seen it earlier.....arrived and yes a grebe who dived in the scope and a lovely redneck in winter gear!

to the patch....Kittiwakes and Gulls unfortunately all small and not a med amidst them...would have like to interrogate the larger gulls but they were away away!
Lurking Caspian? Auks galore flying past Guillemots and Razorbills were id-ed no Little auks seen.Then Gannets...

to Scotney to see if we could find a redthroated diver...nope another dip but lovely pair of Long tailed Ducks! and a Barnacle flock with bluemorph Snow Goose and Emperor Goose...think they are feral but plastic! shame still havent seen a real Snow Goose yet!But then

I spot a white bird floating...its a ghostly white Barney! Barn Owl hunting and that was splendid spent a while watching!
More Ducks including Shelduck (mentioned by name are year ticks for me!)

Then it rained and the light was going....and then it brightened so off down Denge Marsh but through the Firing area no red flags so safe....
to the beach almost all the way by car....and search for a Scoter float!

Finally spotted by sheer chance then to get near...rush along a beach hahaha shingle not the easiest to walk on! Finally my zoom lens into its own as Common Scoter and finally flying Velvets.

Back to car and still light but as we whizzed towards Greatstone we realised the light was really dim and the sea was miles out so only Oystercatcher and Godwits could we be sure of.

I think i added 28 to the 59 I had sen already.

So 87 2008 Year List.

No trip to Rye and some dips but hey there are other days!

I love the beginning of a new year list!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Snow - well some snowdrops!

No not the flowers yet- they should be seen in the garden soon.

Went to Kent yesterday to see my niece,her other half and my great niece! Whose lovely- unbiased Aunties view!
Not a nice day weather to travel in altho the return journey was a breeze-M25 at its best.
When I arrived mt coat was covered in tiny snowflakes (or drops!)

Lovely meal and lovely to see them again. I should visit more often.
Andy is a dab hand in the kitchen too.

Today has been a strange day in that I meant to go out and bird somewhere but I didn't venture forth. I watched part of a video on Southern African birds,
I need to get id ing them!I watched Shaun the Sheep, well a couple of the tales!
I fiddled around on the internet mainly cos I couldn't get blogger to work.

Looked at the Test and One Day Cricket Squad.
Thought they would give Ambrose a go along with Mustard after Priors gaff ridden display in India. Clever of Strauss to be in New Zealand acclimatising!Interesting to see if Treadwell does well.

Hmmmm Birding outings this w/e probably Sussex on Saturday and Kent on Sunday. Quite like to get my Year list over the ton by the end of the w/e.

Thinking about my friend who died recently, its the funny things you remember especially the fun we had!His funeral is not until the 16th, I must have a chat with his partner.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Well I am trying to improve my photography.

Went on a Birds of Prey day course in November as my birthday present from a friend and she came too. We enjoyed it so much that I have booked us on a Big Cats Day in April.
Christmas and birthday present for my friend.
I have an e-mail today from the tutor and he mentions a wide angle lens...and that is what I have been thinking about for ages.

Landscapes...whole body action shots of Big Cats....practise for Southern Africa.

So I shall be getting a Canon lens soon.Got to check out which one.

Lens is in the air or should that be lens are in the air?

January 1st 2008

Happy New Year!

I was actually saying this to total strangers yesterday as I walked around Bedfont Lakes Country Park. I began my Year List in the garden at home, 1st bird Mr Blackbird, and another 8 species, spotted a Goldfinch in my friends road, on the Great West Road were Crows and Feral pigeons and a pair of Collared Doves as I arrived in the car park at BLCP.
Since part of BLCP is a tetrad(Bird Atlas)I will explain this on another day.
I was not going to actually count birds today just species.Each new species looked at with new eyes as you excitedly spy a different species.
(The list will be on my other site)
By the time I had reached the Black something (?)Hide I had added another 16 birds
here I met Fred (never meet before) who was looking intently at the reeds opposite.
"I think I have the Bittern" was his greeting!Great - Bitterns have been here each winter for the past 3 years I have been doing a Yearlist and I have never managed to spot one here!Fred hadn't brought his scope so mine was very useful.The bird was about a foot in the reeds so cleverly disguised you sometimes wonder if you really see one or not! Well we looked and still it was just a part of the body...was it..yes...then I looked at a different angle and there was a neck or was there? Another man arrived, Jack looked where I was and he saw a neck too. We couldn't see both bits together! But when we left the Bittern had melted away...the reeds if they had been reeds were not there any more so we had had the Bittern!Redwing and Fieldfares added but no Song or Mistle Thrush today.

These two older men were members of the Bedfont Lakes CP nature reserve (a private area only open on Sunday afternoons usually for a couple of hours to the public and to members anytime. This was to my benefit as we went in through the locked gates!
This was to see if we could see the Bittern better. Fred has actually seen the Bittern on the track we walked on!Well no more show but the pig like screaming of a heard only Water Rail.
Woodpeckers! Yaffle and Great Spot were soon added to the list. Jack spotted a Goldcrest and we all saw it! I spotted LTTits, a small flock was eventually seen.Both the guys were on 40+ as they left from the Centre car park and I had 43 a liitle later leaving from the other car Park on the other side of the Park..Obviously some different birds.
I left BedfontLakes CP to go to Staines Reservoir (where I had originally been going this morning first but it was so overcast I thought I'd wait til later. There was little on the Res in comparison to lately. But BN grebe and Scaup found fairly quickly with a hunting Kestrel overhead (mine not the ducks or grebes!)and the lovely Goldeneye and one lonely floating GBB Gull.
Canada Goose spotted on route to Barnes (WWT).(48)
Spotting with rain now as well but it cleared up until after I left the centre.

Arriving at the Peacock Tower I saw Teal and was reminded about the Garganey I dipped on Boxing Day!There were a lot of people crowding round a scope or two and what have they got then? I heard Jack Snipe...couldn't resist
"Excuse me did you say you see a JS?"
"Look here" said a friendly fella and in his scope were Common and Jack Snipe!
Well I soon got settled in near to these observant chaps.Whilst I was looking at the Ducks and Pintail(52) chap was actually showing more people the Snipe and a Water Rail...where...not anywhere near me!
It was getting darker outside,well and in as the hides are not lit apart from the stairwell up went everything as a Peregrine flew over.
Grey Heron (too many here! wish they would eat the fish only as they keep eating the other birds too.
Water Pipit and Stonechat were spotted by another chap.Water Pipit creeping about like a mouse and Stonechat sitting up.(56)
By now the hide had emptied and there wre only a few of us left.

I kept hearing Water Rail called eventually I asked the guy next to me where he was looking and as he described where he said lost it!
Would I actually see one today?

And then as I looked down in a corner of the grazing marsh the helpful fella was describing that actual spot and there was the grey head of a most welcome Water Rail.
(A Jack Snipe had been hiding behind a bright clump of leaves ( and difficult it was to see him)and bobbiong up and down occasionally but the Water Rail eventually walked right up to the JS who took off as quickly as earlier the WR had run away from a Moorhen! So in the scope were two tricky birds to see Water Rail and Jack Snipe. What a perfect end to a wonderful days birding. The weather was not good but at least the rain held off until I was in my car.
58 species seen for the 2008 Year List.